We have lots of stuff. We started home educating 7 years ago. There have been times in those 7 years that some of my children have been in school, but for the most part we have been home educating and we must have explored every ‘style’ and curriculum out there. We moved home several times in those years and so have cleared out lots on each move, but still the house gets filled back up again.
We are now mainly autonomous home educators, although I’m not sure this means we have any less stuff!
We have lots of books, some of which have never been read, but I thought I should hang on to them just in case one of the children suddenly wants to read them. We have craft supplies in abundance, mainly because I love crafts more than my kids probably do!
We have a collection of workbooks from when I panic and think we are not doing enough. Most of them have no more than two pages completed in them before the kids are bored of them or I relax a bit and let the kids follow their own interests instead of filling in the blanks so I have some kind of concrete ‘proof’ that they have done some learning.
I buy books all the time, loads of them. I buy books about home education especially. I have had books about Charlotte Mason, and autonomous home education (or ‘Unschooling’ they are often called) mainly as these are the two ‘styles’ of home education that have always appealed to me. I also buy books about being a mum, being a Christian mum and being a good homemaker, which is another thing that interests me, but in reality, I’m rubbish at, but I’m sort of OK with that!
(Maybe I should say the good homemaker ones intrigue me, as I’ve never managed to be one of those mum’s who has a perfect house, perfect children with matching socks every day and meals ready ‘on time’, but I think about it sometimes).
I read book lists like those on What Do We Do All Day. I love those.
My house never stays tidy for long. My dining table for example, normally is covered in various things that are going on. They don’t all like to do the same thing at the same time. Painting, jigsaws, books and pens. But you know what, we have 4 children, the youngest ones are still quite young. I don’t have 7 hours a day where they are at school and I can just spend my days tidying. I have to tidy round them, and that is usually never ending, so I choose to let them have their half done jigsaw out for a few days or I don’t pack away their papers because I see they have been really engrossed in drawing for the past few days.
As I write this, one of my boys is rearranging the living-room chairs to make a den. It looks messy and part of me is thinking of saying he has to stop, but he is happy and being creative and having to think about which way to put things to make the den the way he wants it. He is near me and we are chatting, but when he’s engaged in what he’s doing I am able to continue writing this post.
The mess is a sort of sacrifice, I guess. I could have a super tidy house, but my kids could be in school all day or they could be at home but have very restricted learning times and places they are allowed to play or create stuff. My children have freedom to use the house as their own. Yes, I try to show them how to take care of their things and of the house and they help me with jobs like folding washing, emptying the dishwasher and hoovering, but they have freedom to be children too.
I think I have one of those houses that could politely be called “lived in” or “homely”. Well, I hope I do anyway. A home where guests are not scared to move or touch something or spill something. A place where people feel welcome and want to spend time with us, and not to be impressed with my housekeeping skills! It’s clean, but a bit clutter-y at times!